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2019 Ram 1500 quick take review

The most refined pickup ever

 

Over the weekend I got my hands on a 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie 4×4 crew cab to review thanks to my friends and one of our forum sponsors, Abbotsford Chrysler. I only had the truck in my posession for a few hours due to limited availability of 2019 Ram 1500’s on the west coast but that was more than enough for me to draw some conclusions and write about my initial impressions. I hope to get my hands on one for a longer term to do a more thorough review.

EXTERIOR

Our test truck was a Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 finished in Diamond black metallic with the optional 20 inch polished wheels with painted pockets. The truck looks great in person and has very nice lines, this is the first time I have seen a 2019 Laramie in person and while I generally am not a fan of chrome it is tastefully done on the 5th gen trucks and doesn’t bother me.

The truck has an aggressive look, a lot of what people complain about in pictures isn’t noticeable in person, the front end keeps the forward rake that started with the 4th gen trucks. The LED reflector headlights are standard on the Laramie trim and are outlined by nice, clean looking LED accent lighting. A nice touch is the LED turn signals that line up perfectly with the “nostrils” in the grille. Speaking about the grille the crosshairs are gone as we all know but the nostrils and center indentation pay homage to the crosshair, the grille looks great in person and with all the curvatures and indentations is quite intricate looking. Front parking sensors are hidden in the fog light surround and the black grille in the bumper and are hardly noticeable.

Coming around to the sides of the truck and you can see the nice body side sculpting, a strong bodyline runs from the tops of the front fenders along the sides of the truck and lines up with the tops of the rear taillights. Although the black hides some of the lines in the photos, the front fenders and box sides flare out above the wheelwells and the truck has a nice “coke bottle” shape in the doors.

2019 Ram Review
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie on the road (5thGenRams photo)

Around back we have the new LED taillights with integrated blind spot monitoring, the new Rams head badge is front and center in the new very light aluminum tailgate. Speaking of that tailgate this truck was equipped with the Laramie Level 2 package which included a remote release tailgate from a button on the overhead console as well as a button on the remote, pushing one of these buttons causes the damped tailgate to relase and fall down quickly and smoothly. Closing the tailgate can be done with one finger it’s so light and it closes with a nice solid sound. The rear bumper is a nice design allowing it to be used as a 2 tiered step and is more elegant than the competitions solutions in my opinions. Rear parking sensors are hidden in the black plastic trim under the bumper. (A note to dealership employees when sending customers on a test drive bolt the plate on, the way the dealer plate is hanging in this photo caused the blind spot monitors to slam on the brakes in reverse on 2 seperate occasions during my drive, thinking there was an obstruction behind the vehicle.)

The 2019 has a 4 inch longer wheelbase and is 4 inches longer overall than the outgoing Ram, the extra length all goes into the cab. Front doors are 1 inch longer and the rears are 2 inches longer than the previous truck, the same box lengths of 5’7 or 6’4 are available on crew cabs while quad cabs get the 6’4 box as the only option. The proportions are spot on and the truck looks great going down the road.

INTERIOR

By now everyone has seen or heard about the 2019 Ram 1500s interior, there is no doubt about it, it is class leading by a longshot. High quality materials abound, fit and finish is bang on with no panel gaps or pieces out of place. There were zero squeaks or rattles even over rough roads.

The dash layout is very intuitive and would be familiar to anyone coming from a 2009-2018 Ram, all controls are laid out logically and easy to use. Unfortunately this truck did not have the 12 inch Uconnect system but the Uconnect 4C system remains easy to use. UConnect 4C replaced the outgoing 8.4A and 8.4AN models in Ram trucks in 2018, it features a faster processor, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality as well as a more vibrant, crisp display. I found that the system responded to inputs quickly and didn’t give me any issues. Ram trucks with the 4C Navigation get a gloss black screen surround with the screen being flush mounted, 4C units without navigation get a recessed screen with a matte black surround. This truck had the optional Harman/Kardon 19 speaker audio system and sounded amazing, Highs. Lows and mids were all on point and I barely played with the equalizer, this is hands down the best audio system in the pickup market.

2019 Ram Review
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Interior (5thGenRams photo)

The storage options in this truck are immense, with the 2019 Ram 1500 offering almost double the interior storage of their closest competitor. There are multiple storage spots in the door panels, the “Ram Bins” are roughly twice the size of the outgoing truck and then there’s that innovative center console. There are many different ways that the center console can be utilized, the armrest is of a two tiered design as on the outgoing Ram but the innovative part is the cup holders and storage tray that can be slid and locked into different positions in the center console itself. This allows the whole length of the console to be opened up for storage while the cup holders are more of a “floating design” allowing you to store items underneath them. There is a single USB charge port under the arm rest and 2 USB and 2 USB C ports in the front of the console. Part of the Level 2 equipment group on the Laramie is the “Ramcharger” wireless charging system, the wireless charger is part of the phone holder and placing my Samsung Galaxy S8+ into the phone holder resulted in the phone charging with no issues.

2019 Ram test drive
2019 Ram 1500 Console (FCA photo)

Door panels on my Laramie tester were trimmed with leather, suede, wood and metallic inserts and felt like they were taken right out of a luxury car. Seats are leather with suede trim as well, heated and ventilated and extremely comfortable.

2019 Ram test drive
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Interior (5thGenRams photo)

Rear legroom is now best in class and cavernous, the Laramie also features the slide and recline rear seating which is a definite plus for rear passengers on long roadtrips. Another nice touch is the hump in the front passenger footwell that plagued previous Rams is gone, this is a much more comfortable truck all around for all passengers.

THE DRIVE

Driving the 2019 Ram 1500 is unlike anything you have ever experienced before in a pickup truck. The ride is exceptionally smooth due to the coil spring rear suspension, vibrations are also non existent likely due to the ATMMs (Active Tuned Mass Modules) that are bolted to the frame and work to cancel out vibrations. This truck was equipped with the regular 5.7 Liter Hemi V8, backed by the revised for 2019 8HP75 transmission and had the 3.92 rear end. While in previous FCA vehicles with the Hemi V8 you could feel a slight vibration when the MDS system was active it was impossible to tell in this truck aside from the green ECO light on the dash. I also found that this truck spent a lot more time in ECO mode than my 2016 Ram does which should help in real world fuel economy.

2019 Ram test drive
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie (5thGenRams photo)

The interior is exceptionally quiet with next to no road noise entering the cabin and just a fairly faint engine sound under acceleration. New for 2019 is an active noise cancellation system that aims to keep the cabin noise at a constant 67.1 db, you could carry on a conversation with all your passengers at highway speed in a very low voice and be easily heard.

While not a sports car the Ram felt planted and solid around twisty backroads, steering feel is nicely weighted and not overboosted like some other electronically assisted power steering systems. It felt closer to a hydraulic setup than an electronic one and thats a good thing.

While the 5.7 Hemi is rated at 395hp and 410lb ft of torque like the outgoing Ram, the revised transmission and engine tuning, combined with a 225lb weight loss made the truck feel much more eager than previous Rams. The throttle lag and slow throttle tip in of the 4th gen trucks is gone, while I didn’t time it I did a quick 0-60 run and the truck felt slightly faster than my comparably equipped 2016 model.

Visibility all around is excellent with my only gripe being the tow mirrors that this truck was equipped with. Having the convex mirror on the sides makes it awkward to use the mirrors and I personally think visibility is better with the regular mirrors. I can see why a lof of owners with the tow mirrors drive with them flipped out as it would fix the awkward orientation. I would like to see the tow mirrors redesigned in the future with a more vertical design like what Ford and GM use and a power telescoping feature.

2019 Ram Review
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie (5thGenRams photo)

Overall I think Ram really hit this one out of the park. They’ve improved on all of the outgoing trucks strengths and addressed the weaknesses. If you’re in the market for a full sized pickup you would be doing yourself a disservice not to take a 2019 Ram 1500 out for a drive. You’ll be glad you did.

Here is our POV quick take video review.

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Abbotsford Chrysler (5thGenRams photo)

Thanks to forum member BobbiBigWheels and everyone at Abbotsford Chrysler for allowing me to use this vehicle for my review. If you are located in B.C of Alberta it’s worth your while to check them out. Abbotsford Chrysler is a sponsor of the 5th Gen Ram forums and is offering 2019 Ram 1500s at employee pricing to forum members so if you’re shopping make sure to check them out.

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